By Jeff Helfrich / NPSL.com
Last Saturday, The Miami FC midfielder Tomás Granitto bent in an olimpico that brought a sold-out crowd to its feet in the 43rd minute of a 2-0 win over Miami United FC, his former club.
“It was really nice scoring my first goal with The Miami FC with it being the first game of the season,” Granitto said. “Especially against my old team.”
This Saturday, he’ll try to do it all over again when the teams square off once more.
“Granitto is a top-quality player and he stood out when we played Miami United last year so we jumped at the chance to bring him in,” The Miami FC head coach Paul Dalglish said. “He has become a very important part of our team and you can see that he has that little bit of extra motivation out on the pitch when he is taking on his former team.”
Granitto’s move from Miami United FC to The Miami FC stemmed from the fact that the latter was a team he always saw himself playing for since its inception. The 25-year-old even turned down five offers to play professionally elsewhere. He wanted to stay home.
The Miami kid was born to play the star in the Magic City Clásico. He found himself getting emotional when he realized 1,252 fans had packed a stadium to watch two south beach soccer teams.
“Me being able to play in front of family, friends and a lot of El Salvadoran fans that came out from even far places to come and see me play, for me, I took huge pride in that,” Granitto said. “And being able to score as well, it was a very special night for me.”
Granitto’s soccer resume includes time with the El Salvador National Team, Portland Timbers 2, and Swope Park Rangers. He was called up to play for El Salvador senior team for the first time earlier this year and hopes he will again in the future on a more consistent basis. Granitto represented El Salvador previously at the 2013 FIFA U-20 World Cup in Turkey.
The objectives most present in the mind of the midfielder at the moment include helping The Miami FC repeat as NPSL National Champions this season and hopefully facing a Major League Soccer team in U.S. Open Cup play, which starts on May 8.
“We’re working hard for the U.S. Open Cup,” Granitto said. “We have the team, we have the players, we have the mentality. We’re really hoping to get as far as we can and farther than last year.”
Miami’s soccer culture is a unique one. Granitto gets to be around El Salvadoran influence while still in the American city he’s called home since he was young. His professional and international past helped him prove to himself that he belongs and prepared him to become a star at home.
What drew Granitto to The Miami FC specifically was its culture, professionalism and comfortability.
“I love being here,” Granitto said. “And I just felt it would be a great chance for me to be here, hopefully for many years to come.”
Photo Credit: Orovio Photography